Contingency Vehicle Prototype

(Finland  – September 2018)

Outside Helsinki in the quiet region close to Espoo, we dropped into see Tapio Makela‘s new artist residency for a few days. The interaction with our host would be  fruitful and highly engaging. In addition to acquiring extensive knowledge on gathering and cooking a variety of wild woodland fungi and mushrooms, and wandering the many rooms of the vast former old peoples home currently under re-construction, we finally had the chance to start building our prototype for a stable rowing platform that we might later adapt as a contingency vehicle.

The prototype was developed from an intention to look at building contingency vehicles; human powered rescue vehicles or low cost unmanned sensing platforms. We were inspired by Rob La Frenais ongoing work on the future of transport, but also thinking about scenarios ranging from climate change through to migrations at sea. The contingency vehicle would therefore be intended to have a very low cost, a DIY approach to some extent, whilst drawing on a long forgotten design.

Built from used and unused construction materials lying around Tapio’s extensive property, which is still in progress, the design is based loosely on the ‘needles’, Buckminster Fullers very own rowing boat for taking him and to and fro from his lakeland home without dunking him in the water. Creating a stable platform, the prototype was constructed from water pipes, discarded timber, the seat of an unused Magis One chair, and some hardware from the local store.